Home > Diet and nutrition > News 28 March 2013 The first caffeine-'addicted' bacteria Some people may joke about living on caffeine, but scientists now have genetically engineered E. coli bacteria to do that — literally. 0 iStock Related Tea, coffee, or cocaine? Are you high on caffeine? Possible link between coffee and death Vit & Min doses per day » Count calories in food » Is my vegetarian diet balanced? » Ask The Dietitians » 10 foods to boost your immune system Your quick guide to Banting Their report in the journal ACS Synthetic Biology describes bacteria being "addicted" to caffeine in a way that promises practical uses ranging from decontamination of waste water to bio-production of medications for asthma.Jeffrey E. Barrick and colleagues note that caffeine and related chemical compounds have become important water pollutants due to widespread use in coffee, soda pop, tea, energy drinks, chocolate and certain medications. These include prescription drugs for asthma and other lung diseases. The scientists knew that a natural soil bacterium, Pseudomonas putida CBB5, can actually live solely on caffeine and could be used to clean up such environmental contamination. So they set out to transfer genetic gear for metabolizing, or breaking down, caffeine from P. putida into that old workhorse of biotechnology, E. coli, which is easy to handle and grow.The study reports their success in doing so, as well as use of the E. coli for decaffeination and measuring the caffeine content of beverages. It describes development of a synthetic packet of genes for breaking down caffeine and related compounds that can be moved easily to other microbes. When engineered into certain E. coli, the result was bacteria literally addicted to caffeine.The genetic packet could have applications beyond environmental remediation, the scientists say, citing potential use as a sensor to measure caffeine levels in beverages, in recovery of nutrient-rich byproducts of coffee processing and for the cost-effective bioproduction of medicines. EurekAlert NEXT ON HEALTH24X How fat can alcohol really make you? 2017-10-19 07:31 More: Diet and nutritionNews advertisement Read Health24’s Comments Policy Comment on this story 0 comments Comments have been closed for this article. Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Loading comments... Other news Diet and nutrition Tax on sugary drinks signed into law News QUIZ: What would you do in these 7 emergencies? News Husband abandons wife after she is diagnosed with cancer Medical Listeriosis kills 5 in drought-stricken Western Cape News SA's 7 biggest health stories of 2017 Diet and nutrition Is your water hydrating you? From our sponsors Discover treatments that can help reduce acne What can I do to reduce or remove acne marks? Dementia and Incontinence: what you need to know WIN a R2000 Skin Renewal online store voucher! Live healthier Watch out! » Gross fungal infections you can pick up at the gym You go to gym to exercise. But make sure the only thing you pick up is a dumbbell and not one of these gross fungal infections. Holiday health » Your 10-step asthma holiday checklist Don’t let asthma ruin your summer holiday. Whether you are travelling or embracing the summer at home, make sure you plan ahead.